Cancer log 189: Reconstruction, round 3

I went in today to consult with the doc about whether to do another round of post-lumpectomy fat transfer. He had told me at the beginning that it typically takes 3-4 rounds to gCancer log 189: Reconstruction, round to symmetry. I honestly hadn’t been sure if I would come back for a third surgery, because he’s released the worst of the scarring and improved the appearance notably. But esp. in a swimsuit, or a form-fitting top worn without a bra, the difference is still pretty notable, and it does bother me.

We talked today, and it was a little bit of a ‘let’s be realistic’ conversation. He think he probably can’t get it perfectly symmetrical, because given the scarring and the radiation, the ‘envelope’ that he can insert fat into just isn’t very elastic. There was apparently this kind of fancy bra contraption, called Brava, that for a while people were using to stretch out the skin of the breast, but for whatever reason it’s mostly unavailable right now, which clearly frustrates the heck out of him, because he brings it up every time we meet.

But that said, he does think he can at least reduce the scar tissue a little more, and add a bit more volume; I decided to go for it. Waiting to talk to the scheduler now, so not sure yet when exactly this will be.

I continue to have ongoing complex feelings about plastic surgery as a woman, as a feminist. I glanced at brochures while I was waiting — for breast lifts, for facial skin tightening procedures. I am so glad I had the original breast reduction in 2011 — it made my life much more comfortable, made me more capable of physical activity. That one was simple, because it was a choice in the direction of comfort, of pain reduction, and I honestly didn’t care whether it made me more or less attractive.

These other choices are more tempting, more dangerous. What kind of example do I want to set for my daughter? What kind of woman will I be, in the community of women? The lines are getting blurrier, and I am unnerved by how blasé I am becoming about surgeries.  The facial youthening procedures were surprisingly tempting — not actually for dating, but for professional reasons. Author photos, book tours, academic promotions. Beauty and youth sell.

I’m going to try to just concentrate on writing better books, though.

I’ll leave you with this, as the author considered gastric bypass surgery:

“What those doctors offered was so tempting, so seductive: this notion that we could fall asleep for a few hours, and within a year of waking up, most of our problems would be solved, at least according to the medical establishment. That is, of course, if we continued to delude ourselves that our bodies were our biggest problem.

After the presentation there was a question-and-answer session. I had neither questions nor answers, but the woman to my right, the woman who clearly did not need to be there because she was no more than forty or so pounds overweight, dominated the session, asking intimate, personal questions that broke my heart. As she interrogated the doctors, her husband sat next to her, smirking. It became clear why she was there It was all about him and how he saw her body. *There is nothing sadder,* I thought, choosing to ignore why I was sitting in that same room, choosing to ignore that there were a great many people in my own life who saw my body before they ever saw or considered me.”

– Roxane Gay, _Hunger_

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